Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted discussed Lars Ulruch and James Hetfield’s egos in a new interview.
“It definitely felt different – the trial by fire is well documented, and we really have to remember that there was so much more joy, excitement, and feeling of accomplishment…
“I’m so eager to please and willing to be a part of everything that I possibly can, and give my all to it, and all those things.
“So they saw that – I think that was quite apparent from very early on that I was willing to go through whatever it took, whether it’s from them or whoever or whatever, I was willing to play my part in their outfit to help them make it happen from that time.
“So that part definitely felt different – I had proven myself on the road, it would get super sick and still go play anyway…
“You have to do the things you got to do to prove yourself in that kind of a club. And I did, and so going into that, I felt better, I felt more confident, I was feeling way better about the positioning of my bass in the orchestra, that type of thing.
“And I was ready for Bob [Rock, producer] to show me what it really took. I was ready for it, he was right there to tell me. I had hit that point as my comprehension of bass, I never let my chops go, I always kept playing.
“I always practiced, I always tried, I never wanted to be off. When those guys asked me to play something, I’m right there, we’re not messing around, no questions, just, ‘Yeah, I got it.’
“So that was super important, so I knew that going in that’s how I was going to do it. The only thing I would say was most noticeable, that you of course noticed by now, was the posturing.
“There had to be that certain posturing, you got these egos of this already accomplished unit as Metallica, you had the individual posturing of Lars [Ulrich, drums] and James [Hetfield, guitar/vocals] inside that.
“The first album [1983’s ‘Kill ‘Em All’] says ‘co-produced by Hatfield or Ulrich,’ something like that. They started getting into that place because Bob’s coming in posturing with his ego and his accomplishments.
“So we got the inner workings of the big workings, posturing, everybody knows the potential – ‘Master of Puppets’ did this, what it did to the real authentic people that want to hear that shit! That set everybody on fire that knew better.
“That posture for the ‘Justice’ they had and because of the thing with Cliff [Burton, bass], there was so much focus on what was going to happen with this incredibly promising band.
“And then they knew that so ‘Justice’ did really good and toured it even better, than the record sold like holy crap, even though it was going so fast and sounded like that, it had one on it, and then the video [for ‘One’] came, and so it blew up…
“And so what’s going to happen next? They could only go forward, they can only go up. So let’s invest all this money in this producer, give them a point or two on the record, and then pull any of these other guys.
“And this dude, this professional thing, and rent out the most expensive studio you can in Los Angeles for nine months, and whatever the hell all went down.
“Posture, posture, posture, posture… And then it had to work itself out inside the walls, inside the four-foot thick walls.”